By David Krueger Herald Writer
BELLEVUE — The Lake Stevens band helped make a hostile environment a little less hostile.
Brooke Pahukoa and the Vikings did their best to make sure the band kept energized.
Pahukoa scored 22 points and the Lake Stevens defense had 19 steals to defeat Newport 48-43 as the Lake Stevens band blared throughout Newport High School in a Wesco-Kingco play-in game for the regional round of the state tournament Tuesday night.
“Our band showed up and I think they helped us a lot,” Pahukoa said. “I have to go thank them later when I go to school. Their crazy energy let the other team get out of sorts. Thankfully, they helped us out a ton.”
So did the Vikings’ defense. Pahukoa grabbed six steals, as did her twin sister Brittney, and Lake Stevens helped force 27 Newport turnovers. The Knights committed at least six turnovers in each quarter.
The defense also held Newport’s leading scorers, Anna Crabtree and Chiara Victor, to nine points apiece.
“We felt like we really had an advantage with our perimeter players and we did a nice job,” Lake Stevens head coach Randall Edens said. “Because of their size, our guards really needed to help our post players out and provide a lot of on-ball pressure. We really got what we wanted.”
Lake Stevens (18-7 overall) led most of the way, but Newport (16-9) — which finished third in the Kingco 4A Crown league — made the game exciting in the final minutes. The Knights hit back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the Vikings’ lead to three.
Edens was worried that might be a turning point in the game for the home team.
“They hit back-to-back 3’s which got all the momentum going their way,” Edens said. “When that happens in a home gym, it’s one of those things where you start to go ‘uh-oh.’ But we executed pretty well down the stretch.”
Brooke Pahukoa made a pair of free throws to keep Lake Stevens in front and then added two more with less than 30 seconds to play, giving the Vikings a four-point lead.
The senior guard, who committed to Boise State along with her sister, said she had no nerves as she stepped to the free-throw line.
“Actually, no, I wasn’t nervous at that point. It’s exactly where I wanted to be,” Pahukoa said. “I wanted to be the one shooting those free throws and I’m just happy they went in.”
Pahukoa said her team supplies all the motivation she needs. A close-knit group, Lake Stevens wasn’t ready for Tuesday night’s contest to be its last.
“We’re all really looking forward to making the season last as long as it can,” Pahukoa said. “We have four seniors graduating and we’re a very, very close team. We just don’t want the season to end. That’s it.”
Brittney Pahukoa had nine points and six rebounds for Lake Stevens and junior Kali Long added nine points — all in the first half. She had a couple deep two-pointers that helped Lake Stevens begin to pull away in the second quarter.
“Kali was critical early,” Edens said. “She hit some perimeter shots. That really isn’t her MO even though we encourage her to shoot those, and that kind of allowed us to settle down.”
The Vikings aggressive defense helped account for a couple offensive struggles. Lake Stevens was 0-for-9 from behind the 3-point arc and was 12-for-20 (60 percent) from the free throw line.
But Lake Stevens overcame those struggles — and 6-foot-4 Newport post Casey Schoenlein who grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked eight shots — to advance to the regionals round of the state tournament for the fourth consecutive season.
Unsurprisingly, this is the Pahukoas fourth year at Lake Stevens.
“It’s just that winner’s mentality. It’s how competitive (the Pahukoas) are and our kids feed off of it,” Edens said.
After losing to eventual 4A state-champion Skyview 72-56 in the regional round last year, the Lake Stevens coach said that the four Vikings seniors — the Pahukoa sisters, Mallory Gipson and Chelsea Pahls — are eager for an opportunity to get back to the regional round (technically, the opening round) of the state tournament.
And then back to the Tacoma Dome.
“It goes back to how desperately Brooke, Brittney and our seniors want to get back (to state),” Edens said. “It’s so important for myself and our kids to get them to the Tacoma Dome. They’ve just given so much to our program it’s just such a huge, huge thing. That’s what seniors do. They rise up in those tough moments and critical situations. They rise to the occasion.”
At Newport H.S.
Lake Stevens 13 15 9 11 — 48
Newport 15 7 8 13 — 43
Lake Stevens–Alex Briggs 0, Mallory Gipson 0, Cassidy Fifield 0, Chelsea Pahls 4, Brittney Pahukoa 9, Emily Vandegrift 4, Brooke Pahukoa 22, Kali Long 9. Newport–Anna Crabtree 9, Melody Brown 0, Chiara Victor 9, Kaitlin Sahlinger 7, Laura Moretti 3, Marikah Wright 6, Abbi Gobel 5, Casey Schoenlein 4. 3-point goals–Victor 1, Sahlinger 1, Moretti 1, Gobel 1. Records–Lake Stevens 18-7 overall. Newport 16-9.
Newport 66, Mount Vernon 55
BELLEVUE — Newport came out and outscored Mount Vernon 24-13 in the first quarter of the two teams’ Wesco-Kingco state regionals play in game leading the Knights to a 66-55 victory Tuesday night at Newport High School.
The loss ended Mount Vernon’s season.
Miles Witt and Casey Leek had 13 points apiece for the Bulldogs, who used nine 3-pointers to hang with Newport for most of the game. But Newport had four scorers in double digits, including Will Ferris who scored 12 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter as the Knights closed out the win. Miles Fowler scored 15 points, 11 of which came in Newport’s big opening quarter.
At Newport H.S.
Mount Vernon 13 14 13 15 — 55
Newport 24 10 14 18 — 66
Mount Vernon—Robert Monroe 3, Melvin Walser 2, Ian Johnson 0, Miles Witt 13, Adrian Johnston 0, Kevin Hofstad 7, Seth Jensen 6, Andrew Roozen 8, Evan Repplier 3, Casey Leek 13. Newport—Jason Lock 11, James Ferris 0, Jake Higgins 0, Miles Fowler 15, Isaac Dotson 17, Will Ferris 19, Drew Sample 0, Calvin Throckmorton 2. 3-point goals—Monroe 1, Witt 3, Hoftstad 2, Jensen 2, Repplier 1, Lock 1, Fowler 1, W. Ferris 3. Records—Mount Vernon 16-9 overall. Newport 17-8.